Friday, February 01, 2008
It's interesting to check out the tax protest patriots from time to time.
In 1992 and 1993, my girl friend Katherine was employed by the Pilot Connection. I remember attending a Pilot Connection Christmas party in Stockton and how enthusiastic everyone was about untaxing ourselves.
Nevertheless, in 1996, the main players were sentenced to prison. Katherine, fortunately, was too busy with her ultimately-successful efforts to pass the California bar exam to become a main player, and never faced indictment.
Fast forward to 2008. It looks like Wesley Snipes won't go to prison, but Eddy Ray Kahn and Douglas Rosile will do so, for something quite similar in nature....
With two candidates so closely aligned on the issues, we look to their abilities and potential as leaders, and their record of action in service of their stated ideals. Clinton is an accomplished public servant whose election would provide familiarity and, most important, competence in the White House, when for seven years it has been lacking. But experience has value only if it is accompanied by courage and leads to judgment.And McCain:
Nowhere was that judgment more needed than in 2003, when Congress was called upon to accept or reject the disastrous Iraq invasion. Clinton faced a test and failed, joining the stampede as Congress voted to authorize war. At last week's debate and in previous such sessions, Clinton blamed Bush for abusing the authority she helped to give him, and she has made much of the fact that Obama was not yet in the Senate and didn't face the same test. But Obama was in public life, saw the danger of the invasion and the consequences of occupation, and he said so. He was right.
Indeed, McCain's suitability for the presidency at this moment begins with how he would conduct the nation's foreign affairs. As noted, we do not support his determination to fight on in Iraq, but we welcome his insistence that America's military posture be matched by its moral purpose. Alone among the Republican candidates, he would close the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which has become an international symbol of U.S. arrogance. He has waged a principled and persistent effort to end the Bush administration's embrace of torture as a weapon of war, a frightening concession to terrorism and an abdication of basic American values. He alone among the Republican candidates has condemned torture in all its forms; he alone among all the candidates in this race has endured it.McCain's revival is the most remarkable in the last half-century of presidential politics. In November, he borrowed money to keep his campaign afloat and was required to purchase a special life insurance policy in the event he passed away during his campaign. My, how times change! Now, Republican officeholders from coast-to-coast are falling over themselves to make endorsements before Super Tuesday.
Ann gets analytical about Hillary and John.
Not a surprise:
At a Los Angeles news conference, Obama said that he has specifically asked Edwards for his endorsement, although "we haven't had specific conversations about an Obama administration.... He and I share a fundamental view that it is not enough to just change political parties."I figured that Edwards dropped out before Super Tuesday in order to allow Obama enough time to gather Edwards supporters, but he decided not to endorse Obama, in order to keep his options open in the event Hillary wins the nomination. Now, it will be interesting to see what Edwards does. He has to act today, or tomorrow, to have much of an impact. In any event, watching Hillary distort history regarding her vote for the Iraqi war in last night's debate was enough to chase most Edwards supporters into Obama's camp.
The Obama campaign is courting Edwards' supporters heavily.
The Charleville and Coraki floods really show up, but what is even more striking is the rainfall gradient: NSW wet; SA dry - Central Queensland, a sodden, miserable mess; Western Queensland, utterly arid.
Strange pattern. In the U.S., these things tend to be driven by geography, but in Oz, this thing looks more like caprice.
Yes, in Spanish, La Niña means The Niña....
Not as wide open as you thought:
- [A] county law (Clark County Code 10.32.100) says even spectators at [organized dog fights] can be arrested.
- A Las Vegas law has reserved a special place in hell for you (Las Vegas Municipal Code 7.32.110) if you referee an organized dog fight.
- While it's illegal for locals to shoot most animals here unless it's to defend life and limb or as part of an organized hunting party, county leaders have no problem with you blasting ... each and every serpent you come across (10.32.110).
- Luckily, baby chicks, rabbits, duckling or other young fowl are slightly more protected here. According to local codes, it's illegal to dye them a different color either for ... giggles or -- we kid you not -- "to conceal their identity" (County Code 10.32.200 and Las Vegas Municipal Code 7.32.240).
- [Y]ou'd better not trip old Trigger or try to push him over. That's one equine indiscretion that could cost you up to $1,000 and six months in county jail (10.32.250).
- County Code 10.36.020 and Las Vegas Municipal Code 7.36.040 issue a stern warning - almost an edict, really - against letting Mr. Bojangles drop a biscuit on your neighbor's yard. If Scooter does take his morning constitutional during your daily stroll together, you'd better pick that ... up. Failure to do so can cost you $1,000 and up to six months behind bars.
- Well, if you give that revolver to (drunken) Harry for his birthday, you can be prosecuted under County Code 12.04.050, forced to pay a $500 fine and serve six months in jail.
- [You] might consider buying a musket or flintlock rifle, which are exempted from the (72-hour waiting period) law.
- For example, we bet you didn't know that masseurs/masseuses can't wear transparent clothing. It's right there in the Clark County Code (7.08.045). Nope, no see-through duds.
- [S]econd-hand store owners have to make sure they never, ever accept any items from drunks or the criminally insane (7.16.090).
- [All teen] dance clubs countywide must have enough ambient indoor light to ensure these young'ns don't swing too deeply into some hardcore jungle boogie (8.40.080).
- Women in unincorporated parts of Clark County can't carry or possess mace, nunchuks, truncheons or other bludgeoning devices. Drug users living in these same areas can't possess or use stun guns, either (County Code 12.04.185).
- While using illegal drugs is risky enough, just snorting, smoking or injecting fake junk is enough to land you in the pokey for six months (County Code 12.07.030).
- For the past 33 years, name calling has been illegal in Clark County (12.33.010).
- Horsemen who want to smoke in forested areas of Clark County must dismount their trusty steed first before lighting up (13.16.010). Hikers in these same areas must stop moving forward before taking their first drag.
- Since 1965, shifting your car into neutral and coasting down county roads has been illegal (14.60.090).
- [I]f you're gonna drop a load in your buddy's bathroom, you'd better be sure to get permission first. Failure to do so is a misdemeanor (Las Vegas Municipal Code 10.40.040).
Joel Stein discusses getting a check in the mail from the Feds:
But the government doesn't want us to bank that money or use it to pay off debts. It believes we will go out and spend the money, and that will make our houses worth a lot again. The idea is this: Say, for instance, I got $600, and I spent it on strippers. Those strippers would then buy clothes at Bebe, and the person who owns Bebe would buy the crappy house I overpaid for and get me out of the financial predicament caused by unscrupulous mortgage lenders and not by my addiction to strip joints.
...Unless we find a new bubble to invest in -- and may I boldly suggest reams and reams of freshly printed newspaper -- we're not going to spend our way out of this recession. We got here for the same reason people always get in trouble, from prom night to the blackjack table to Iraq: We got over-excited. We ignored centuries of data saying real estate is a worse investment than stocks, and instead based our investment strategy on the fact that our neighbor totally just sold his house for a serious ton of money, for real. If only someone had invented an easy way to access investment history charts from our computers, this might never have happened.
So as fun as that stripper check sounds, we'd be smart not to take it, and to tell Bernanke that he's good-looking and funny and we'll love him no matter what he does or doesn't do with short-term interest rates. We need to prevent our government from going deeper into debt, thus further devaluing our currency and risking the foreign investments that help support us. So homeowners need to accept that they're not moving into a bigger house in three years, stock owners have to learn that their portfolios are going down for a while, and large tech companies have to stop paying hundreds of millions for social networking sites that kids get sick of after a while.
An empire that believes spending is a patriotic act is perilously close to its end. But at least we will have left future civilizations the invention of the 10-year interest-only adjustable-rate sub-prime mortgage.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
On CNN.... Hillary tells whoppers about her vote to authorize military force against Iraq, gets called on it by Wolf Blitzer, yet Obama doesn't close in for the kill.
Hillary desperately needs to get her ass handed to her next Tuesday....
Clinton asked, in the context of "judgment," why she didn't vote for the Levin amendment to tie the AUMF to the findings of the UN weapons inspectors. This is Clinton's Achilles' heel, and after a comment about not wanting to cede authority to the UN--please, that's sooooo rightwing radio circa 1993--she pivots around to try to differentiate herself from the Republicans.
Wolfie gives Obama an opportunity to respond, but puts it in the context of Petreus' claims that we've had progress in Iraq. Obama makes the correct point that there's been almost no political progress, so even though we're happy with the lessened violence, that we're not happy with the lack of political progress. Then he says it's about judgment, and he thinks he'd be the strongest nominee on national security, because he's always been right in opposing the war in Iraq.
Everyone with blue eyes can be traced back 10,000 years to the Black Sea region.
...According to a team of researchers from Copenhagen University, a single mutation which arose as recently as 6-10,000 years ago was responsible for all the blue-eyed people alive on Earth today.
The team, whose research is published in the journal Human Genetics, identified a single mutation in a gene called OCA2, which arose by chance somewhere around the northwest coasts of the Black Sea in one single individual, about 8,000 years ago.
The gene does not "make" blue in the iris; rather, it turns off the mechanism which produces brown melanin pigment. "Originally, we all had brown eyes," says Dr Hans Eiberg, who led the team.
And most people still do. The finding that a rare mutation, probably dispersed in the rapid wave of colonisation that followed the end of the last ice age, highlights one of the great mysteries of human evolution: the oddness of Europeans.
Those from Europe and the Near-East have many characteristics that set them apart from the rest of the human race.
Not only are Europeans far more likely to have blue eyes (95 per cent in some Scandinavian countries), they also have a far greater range of skin tones and hair colour than any other ethnic grouping.
It is only in Europe that you will find large numbers of blondes and redheads, brunettes, pale skins and olive skins, blueeyed and green-eyed people living together in the same communities. Across the rest of the world people are almost uniformly darkhaired and dark-eyed.
Hillary is really beginning to creep out Matt Taibbi:
Right, that. The whole prose-not-poetry deal. It's working for Hillary, just like her tears gambit worked. After all these years in public life, the only time Hillary Clinton sheds a tear is when her own political career is on the line? I didn't notice her crying when kids started coming home from Fallujah in rubber bags because of a war she voted for.
That was where it all came rushing back. Hillary's stunning victory had been in the books for mere minutes before we were all suddenly reminded of all the reasons we came to hate the Clintons over the years -- why there were scores of very smart people who by November 2000 were actually willing to pull a lever for Ralph Nader rather than go anywhere near a Democratic Party ticket. Seven years is, it turns out, a long time, just long enough to forget that Clinton fatigue was what saddled us with George Bush in the first place.
The crying incident was Hillary's own personal Checkers speech, a painful bit of self-mutilation tossed off on the last step before the political gallows -- a pure sea-cucumber tactic, scaring us off with a display of vulnerable green guts. We missed the chance to finish her off, and now she's back in charge, setting the tone for a campaign that gets dumber and meaner and dirtier by the day. Thanks to you, New Hampshire, the Clintons still have us to kick around.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Radio's ultimate snake-oil elitist drives into the ditch:
RUSH: In fact, it looks to me like Fred Barnes' candidate, Rudy Giuliani, has now dropped out. It looks like David Brooks' candidate, Mike Huckabee, has no traction -- he hasn't won anything since Iowa -- and he needs to get out. Tom Brokaw's candidate, Hillary Clinton, she's in deep trouble going into Super Tuesday. The race card didn't work. She needs the "firewall" of the Latino vote. But Tom Brokaw's candidate is floundering. Tim Russert's candidate, Barack Obama, seems to be doing better than expected. Good for you, Tim. I'm proud of you. Olbermann's candidate, Kucinich, is now gone. He's back in Ohio, trying to keep his seat against a primary challenger. Mort Kondracke's candidate, Ron Paul, gets weirder by the minute. (boos) Thank you. And I want to stress once again, ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for your support, and I want to assure you that I cannot -- and I will not -- leave the Golden EIB Microphone. (applause) I will not retire. I will not concede. (cheers and applause) I will not drift away! I will not fade away, until every American agrees with me --
AUDIENCE: Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush!
RUSH: -- as I have always said.
AUDIENCE: (cheers and applause)
AUDIENCE: Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush!
RUSH: Thank you. Thank you. (wild cheering) Here is the bottom line, ladies and gentlemen. I think this is it. There was a lot of anxiety among a lot of conservatives about Senator McCain. It's simply indisputable. But there was no figure in our roster of candidates who rose up to challenge him or galvanize conservative support. All the candidates on our side, for various reasons, are uninspiring or worse -- and so, just as I predicted, the base has fractured. Some going here, some going there. Senator McCain's been able to cobble together enough votes to win in a few states. Fine. He deserves credit for that. But to pretend that Senator McCain is the choice of conservatives when exit poll data from every primary state show just the opposite... He is not the choice of conservatives, as opposed to the choice of the Republican establishment -- and that distinction is key. The Republican establishment, which has long sought to rid the party of conservative influence since Reagan, is feeling a victory today as well as our friends in the media. But both are just far-fetched and wrong. Thank you. Thank you very much for your steadfast support, and I trust it shall continue because I shall.
Sigh. Not what I wanted to hear:
"I began my presidential campaign here to remind the country that we as citizens and as a government have a moral responsibility to each other, and what we do together matters. We must do better if we want to live up to the great promise of this country that we all love so much. It is appropriate that I come here today," Edwards said.So, what now? Today, I was going to put the Edwards bumper sticker on my car....
When it came time to deliver his next sentence, the key one, Edwards stumbled. "It's time for me to sep -- step aside so that history can, so that, so that history can blaze its path," he said, continuing, "We do not know who will take the final steps to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but what we do know is that our Democratic Party will make history. We will be strong, we will be unified, and with our convictions and a little backbone we will take back the White House in November and create hope and opportunity for this country."
So...."Barack Obama For President!"
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Left: 1115 MST, 2/16/90. Looking directly north, with Salt Lake City in the distance, while flying over icy Utah Lake (near Orem and Provo).
The Piper Navajo was a grand platform from which to take pretty pictures of northern Utah!
Left: 1135 MST, 12/23/89. Chevron Refinery, as seen upon approach from the north to the Salt Lake City airport. I remember when we flew through a sulfurous plume generated by this refinery (Yuck!)
The hill above the refinery features a wave-cut bench, created by the Great Salt Lake's Pleistocene Era's ancestor, the grand Lake Bonneville.
Left: 1115 MST, 12/23/89, near valley fog's southern boundary in the Cache Valley, not far from Logan, UT.
Sometimes the eye can see details that photos can't quite capture. Looking through the thin, translucent fog, it seemed to me I could detect cellular convection patterns, akin to Benard cell convection, but the photo doesn't quite show it. Dang! That would have been notable!
Left: 1040 MST, 12/23/89. Antelope Island, T = -2 deg C.
Clear over the Great Salt Lake!
Left: 1131 MST, 2/16/90. In the foreground, the summit of Mt. Timpanogos, and in the distance, to the upper-right, Provo, UT.
Left: 1050 MST, 12/23/89. Pineview Reservoir, east of Ogden, UT.
Left: 0942 MST, 12/27/89. Visible industrial water vapor plumes punch into the fog from below. Geneva Steel Plant, east shore of Utah Lake, near Orem (and Provo), UT.
Left: 1100 MST, 2/16/90. Follow Interstate Highway 80 west into the low level haze at the north end of the Oquirrh Mountains, and along the southern shore of the Great Salt Lake.
Left: 1107 MST, 2/16/90. Little Cottonwood Canyon, SE of Salt Lake City.
Left: Atmospherics Incorporated Piper Navajo "Yankee 178", piloted by Norris Veverka.
The original plan was that we'd quickly develop a way of dangling a hose from the plane in order to disperse the liquid CO2 into the fog from above, so we need not fly through the fog itself. This was important, because, if we were going to make a grand demonstration of clearing the fog from the entire Salt Lake City metropolitan area in just a couple of hours, it would be nice if we could actually see where we were going as we flew along.
But then it occurred to us that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) might want a say regarding things hanging from aircraft. It was safer to dangle a hose than to fly through the fog, but if the hose couldn't quickly break away, then it might tangle on power lines or other tall objects that might litter the Salt Lake City area, and pull the plane down too.
Regarding breakaway hoses, apparently the FAA wanted a lot more time and engineering support than a few hurried and ambitious university people could provide. So, Plan B was to spray the liquid CO2 directly from the plane, and fly just under fog top as we dispersed the material.
Left: 1108 MST, 12/27/89. Sundogs, as seen from the north end of Leg 4. Fog penetration east of Stansbury Island, north of Toole, UT, and flying directly over the Great Salt Lake.
We flew through the Toole Valley, west of Salt Lake City, dispersing liquid CO2 along the way. As the fog iced up, the fog top collapsed, creating a canyon in the fog. Sundogs (bright patches) could be seen at fog top, announcing the presence of ice crystals.
Left: 1115 MST, 12/27/89. Disappearing irregularities in the fog. Fog penetration east of Stansbury Island, north of Toole, UT, and directly over the Great Salt Lake.
Nevertheless, at least on this day, the valley fog reasserted itself and soon healed the canyon created by the fog seeding.
My speculation was that the substrate below the fog might be important for fog control. Mobile seeding at Vernal seemed to be a success, because we were working, in part, at the edge of the fog, on a warming land surface. In the Toole Valley, however, much of the seeding occurred over a water surface, less prone to warming in the sunlight, thus giving the fog time to regenerate.
Left: 0738 MST, 2/27/90. Stationary seeding vehicle at intersection of U.S. Highway 189 and State Road 113, near Charleston, NE of Provo Utah. Wasatch Mountain is in the background.
Here's my car, with a tank of liquid CO2 tossed in the back seat, and spraying the material from a nozzle situated on the top of the car.
Left: 1045 MST, 2/23/90. Stationary seeding vehicle at the Green River Bridge, near Jensen, ESE of Vernal, in northeast Utah.
It's dark and dim here in the fog!
I remember pulling up outside a convenience market on the eastern outskirts of Vernal, UT. A young tot yanked his father's pants leg and started shouting excitedly, "Daddy! Daddy! What is that? What is that, daddy?"
Daddy looked at my car and said, "Well, son, that is...uh....that's...um.... Well, son, I don't really know what that is!"
Left: 1148 MST 2/23/90. Optical effect observed at the Vernal Airport.
I like this photo. Not only can you see the halo produced by the presence of ice crystals in the air, but if you look closely, you can actually see the ice crystals themselves!
Left: 1012 MST, 2/23/90. 'Second' seeding effect, observed along U.S. 40 near Vernal Airport.
This was the best aerial photo of the 'canyon' produced in the fog by driving along U.S. Highway 40 and spraying liquid CO2 along the way.
I don't think the shadow in the foreground is real, however: the film was damaged somehow in the last eighteen years. But you can see the path I drove to get to the airport, by the trail left behind in the fog.
Left: 1015 MST, 2/23/90. 'Second' seeding effect, observed along U.S. 40 near Vernal Airport.
A second view of the 'canyon' in the fog.
Left: 0915 MST, 2/23/90. A particularly bright sundog in the seeded area along U.S. Highway 40, announcing the presence of ice.
Left: Looking east from the River Road overpass over I-215, in the southwestern suburbs of Salt Lake City.
In the mid-80's there was a calamitous multi-vehicle accident in the fog at this location, so it seemed like a good place to situate one of our liquid CO2 fog control devices (we placed Unit B nearby, at the Murray Parkway Golf Course Maintenance Shed).
Here is Unit A, situated at the West Jordan Sewage Treatment Plant's Septic Dump Facility. Yes, we became familiar with all kinds of out-of-the-way places in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area!
At one point, I noticed that although there were all kinds of gas masks and warning signals at the ready in the event of a massive chlorine spill at the Sewage Treatment Plant, we visitors had been issued no gear, and no instructions. "If you hear those alarms go off," one plant worker stated, "you should run, run, run away just as far and as fast as you possibly can, and don't you dare open your mouth, or even think about breathing!" Whew! That put my mind at rest! They had given some thought about the visitors after all!
Left: Here is Unit C, located at the Amoco refinery at the northern edge of Salt Lake City, showing the liquid CO2 tanks and the solenoid valve controlling the CO2 release.
The absence of fog this particular winter of 1989/90 gave us little experience in the effectiveness of liquid CO2 seeding for improving visibility for traffic. It was a lot of work putting these things together, however, for little in the way of grant money. Kind of reminds me of community theater in that respect....
Since 1990, I know that there has been at least one major multi-vehicle accident in the fog near this location.
Left: Department of Hydrology graduate student Deena Stanley catches a few rays while monitoring in-situ deposition of sulfur dioxide to snow. Pictured, left to right, is a tank of nitrogen, an air pump, an ozone generator, an ozone monitor, and a chart recorder. The in-situ device that delivers sulfur dioxide to the snow is just off-camera, to the right.
Interesting things about the pine forest in the background. In northern Arizona, and along the Mogollon Rim, one can find many clusters of very small trees. Almost all these trees sprouted in the unusual spring of 1919, when growing conditions were just right. Nevertheless, none of these trees could grow very well because every single sprout survived and provided killer competition, so you could find many trees, no bigger round than your wrist, that were nevertheless older than your grandparents. A perfect, brushy thicket for catching fire during summer lightning strikes!
There was other research going on at Fort Valley as well. The U.S. Forest Service was looking at the process of cold-hardening of Ponderosa Pine trees. Trees have to prepare for winter: take a pine tree in July and freeze it, and it will die. This preparation process, called cold-hardening, generates lots of gas (ethylene, I believe) and can be monitored with a gas chromatograph.
The first ozone generator we worked with really cranked out the fresh-smelling stuff. I remember thinking, "Hey, this smell's great! I could sniff this all day!" I inhaled big lungfuls of the ozone. Unfortunately the concentration was 1 to 2 parts per million, 10 to 20 times the hourly federal health standard, and ten minutes later, I had the worst sore throat - ever!
Left: The snow reaction vessel. Sulfur dioxide abstracted either from a tank, or from a solution, was passed over snow in the vessel, and taken up by that porous medium.
The lid of this vessel was composed of a special glass that transmitted ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Normally, glass bars UV light from passing through (that's why you don't get a sunburn driving around on a sunny day). We did experiments looking at whether UV light had any effect on the uptake, but we didn't note any effect.
The reaction vessel is placed in a cooler and chilled by antifreeze passing through the copper tubing surrounding it. The antifreeze is pumped from an external refrigeration unit.
Left: Taking the snow and sectioning it into centimeter-thick slices with a handy-dandy snow coring and sectioning tool assembled by Richard Milliron at the University of Arizona's Department of Atmospheric Sciences. Afterwards, the snow is melted and passed through an ion chromatograph for chemical analyses.
Results of this research (Principal Investigators: Roger C. Bales and George A. Dawson) were published in the Journal of Geophysical Research:
"Gaseous Deposition to Snow: I. Experimental Study of SO2 and NO2 Deposition," J. Geophys. Res., 92, 9779-9787, 1987.
Left: The San Francisco Peaks of northern Arizona.
I had some photos I took during my grad school and postdoc days reprocessed to yield JPEGs, and I'd like to share them over the next few days.
One project concerned the field experiment portion of my Ph.D. research topic: The Incorporation Of Sulfur Dioxide Into Snow And Depositing Ice. We did three months of field research, from December, 1985 to March, 1986, at the Fort Valley Research Station, operated by the U.S. Forest Service, located about five miles northwest of Flagstaff, Arizona.
We went there, from the University of Arizona in Tucson, because we expected lots of snow, but the winter of 1985/86 was rather dry, and sometimes we had to scavenge under the shade of the ponderosa trees for what we needed. Nevertheless we got some good data.
The second project, I worked on for part of a year at the University of Utah. It concerned fog control through the distribution of liquid carbon dioxide. Fog control is a serious problem throughout the world, but with fogs below the freezing point of water (as are common during northern Utah winters), it is possible to introduce ice nuclei, convert the fog droplets into ice crystals and snowflakes, and mitigate the fogs (and hopefully eliminate them).
There were three aspects to this research:
- Stationary seeding, for fog control near known traffic trouble spots;
- Mobile seeding, from an automobile traversing a highway; and,
- Aerial seeding, from an aircraft.
The weather wasn't that cooperative either during the winter of 1989/90. Precipitation was low and fogs were few. I thought the experiments during that season were suggestive, but not conclusive.
The next few posts will concern these various topics....
Left: Monica Parisi as Mme. Dindon.
Left: Mssr. and Mme. Dindon (Michael Manley and Monica Parisi) face the papparazzi.
Below : Jacqueline (Mary Young) places the Dindons on the spot.
Left: Albin (Ryan Adame) as 'Mother.'
Left: Georges (Martin Lehman) and Albin (Ryan Adame).
Fun statistics. In comparison, for the same period of time, the last week, Sacramento Executive Airport received 3.22 inches, less than half what LA has received:
Severe winter storms that battered downtown Los Angeles last week dumped more rain on the city than fell throughout the whole of 2007, National Weather Service figures showed Tuesday.
A series of storms rolling in from the Pacific deluged southern California, with 17.3 centimeters (6.8 inches) of rain falling in Los Angeles in the space of seven days, according to weather service statistics.
The same rainfall measuring station received only 8.15 centimeters of rain throughout 2007, the city's driest year since records began. On average Los Angeles receives 38.4 cm of rain each year.
Because, you know, that would be in bad taste:
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - A Carnival float with a pile of model dead bodies commemorating the Holocaust is causing unease before the lavish parades in Rio de Janeiro this weekend.
The Viradouro samba organization, or school, plans to feature the grim display when it marches in the Sambadrome parade strip on Sunday, despite objections from a local Jewish group.
...Rio's Carnival is famed for the parades by samba schools with glitzy floats and costumes and street parties where costumed revelers drink and dance all night.
The elaborately decorated floats are a key part of each samba school's presentation, along with thousands of dancers and drummers led by near naked Carnival queens.
Viradouro insisted its Holocaust float is not meant to offend anyone.
"The float is extremely respectful, it's a warning, it's something shocking that we don't want to happen ever again," said Paulo Barros, Viradouro's artistic director.
...Barrossaid the Holocaust float would be the only one without dancers on top.
"If we had people dancing on top of dead bodies that would indeed be disrespectful," he told Reuters.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Left: Tim Stewart as "Angelique."
I am what I am
I am my own special creation...
So, come take a look
Give me the hook
Or the ovation.
It's my world
That I want to have a little pride in
And it's not a place I have to hide in
Life's not worth a damn
Till you can say "Hey, world
I am what I am!
I will miss this show a lot! A lot! More than most shows, it required a lot of advance preparation on the part of the cast (in particular, by the Cagelles) but the experience was richer as a result of the extra hard work.
The experience of dressing in drag proved to be oddly liberating, even exhilarating. Who would have known? If it wasn't so much work, I'd consider doing it all the time. Liberation is sometimes a hackneyed word, but there are times when it fits.
In the early Nineties, when I rode a bicycle, I thought everyone in the world should ride a bicycle. Today, I think everyone should wear women's clothes.
What made the experience work, oddly enough, was the shoes. The character shoes we used, with their low heels and sturdy construction, proved to be exceptionally good for the neophyte cross-dresser. For me, heels was the scariest part, but these shoes erased that fear.
The camaraderie in the dressing room was truly exceptional.
Good friends came to see the show on the final weekend.
On Friday, Pam Kay Lourentzos and Charlotte Hartshorne came to see the show.
Whyt Hartman also came to see the show. I hadn't seen her in nearly three years. We did InterACT's "Ola Na Iwi" together at the Old Eagle Theater in 2004, and I thought that she was among the most remarkable teenagers I had ever met. Without artifice or pretense, she had expanded a childhood love of Tim Burton films and J.K. Rowling books to include Celtic lore and the Goth subculture. She is planning to attend school in Wales (closer to the source of it all). It was great to see her again!
On Saturday, Joe The Plumber came and saw the show. His surprised laughter, and Andrew's family's laughter, during the show-opening "I Am What I Am," was so contagious I very nearly broke character. I believe John and Keith saw the show a second time on Saturday.
Sunday's show was a blur. Jon and Eileen Beaver came to see the show. Then there was strike, pizza, and the inevitable parting of the ways of the cast....
Left: Just prior to the John Wayne walk....
"Now, drop your shoulders, and let them grow round and beaten. Stop holding in your stomach. Let it pour over your lap, a testimonial to the nights spent drinking with the boys."
Left to right, Mme. Renaud (Jan Isaacson), Mssr. Renaud (Marc Valdez), Albin (Ryan Adame), and Georges (Martin Lehman). Photo by Steve Isaacson.
On Saturday night, however, a very odd thing happened, the sort of thing we all dread in theater - a sporadic, capricious accident.
At the beginning of the "Masculinity" scene in Act II, Albin (Ryan Adame) arose from a sitting position to imitate John Wayne's signature walk. Unfortunately, while Ryan had been sitting on the chair, one of the curlicues on the white metal chair had insinuated itself deep into a space in the bottom lining of his white jacket. When Ryan arose, the chair clung to his back.
I was standing right behind him, so I lifted the chair in an effort to free him, but the curlicue was deeply embedded. If we weren't careful, Ryan's struggle to free himself would result in a ripped lining, and that would just not do for Albin. What we needed was about ten seconds, to stop the show, and carefully remove the curlicue from the jacket. But since it was a musical, we didn't have that time. And instead of calming down, Ryan seemed to be thrashing around more, and yet more. What the hell was Ryan doing?
Just at that moment, fighting in the blur of white on Ryan's back, I flashed to that penultimate scene from 1960's "The Time Machine," when George (Rod Taylor), having sabotaged the far-future industrial underworld of one of humanity's descendants, the cannibalistic albino Morlochs, attempts to rescue his Eloi girlfriend Weena and escape to the comfort and safety of the year 1966. A big white hairy Morloch jumped on George's back, and he barely escaped.
Similarly, Ryan barely made his escape from the big white hairy monster on his back. Through creative thrashing, he managed to take the jacket off without ripping the lining, and continued with the John Wayne walk. The seconds of time he purchased allowed us to remove the curlicue from the lining. After the walk, he put his jacket back on, and everything was back to normal.
It's scary in live theater, how the most frightening dilemmas can blow up even at the most mundane moments! But that chair has a past. Jan recalls how she got snared by that chair during a scene change in DMTC's most-recent "Evita" and barely got off stage before the lights came up. (I wonder if the Morlochs devised that chair in their industrial underworld?)
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Jacob (Nic Candito) goes out in a burst of glitter.
Left: Ryan Adame in "Mascara."
Left: Finale. Left to right, Andrew Read, Daryl Clark, Catherine Williamson, Marissa Tidrick, Brad Bong, and Nic Candito.
Left: Ryan Adame as 'Zaza.'
Left: "The Can - Can." Left to right, Catherine Williamson, Andrew Read, Kris Farhood, Tim Stewart, Brad Bong, Daryl Clark.